The Undulatory Theory of Light


Three-channel sound installation

Exhibition notes

The Undulatory Theory of Light is a sound installation that investigates wave motion through interrelations between light, sound and water.A light sensor takes readings of the red, green and blue components of daylight. These colour readings generate sonic vibrations, which excite a small amount of sea water inside a transparent box.

The vibrations cause tiny crispations on the surface of the water, which in turn cause shadows that flicker across the light sensor beneath the box. This play of light affects the sensor’s readings. The process continues over the course of the installation: a self-generating system that plays a series of musical triads.

Photo of The Undulatory Theory of Light at Turner Contemporary, Margate

The Undulatory Theory of Light was first presented at Turner Contemporary, Margate, part of the Oscillate festival of Experimental Music Sound, 2018, in association with Canterbury Christ Church University.